Scam Artists Always At Work

Nacogdoches Police detective Mark Lollar wants you to know about popular scams, so you won't be scammed. "You see a stamp from Nigeria or Canada, and then it's handwritten -- automatically becomes suspicious. When you open your envelope, you're going to see a big fat check," said Lollar as he held up a recent one presented to him by a Nacogdoches County potential victim.

The checks are sometimes for as much as $6,000 or more. A letter instructs you to cash it in and send a portion back for a half a million dollar lottery prize. Don't believe it. Don't cash it. It's a fake. Lollar said, "By the time the check makes its rounds and it's found this is a counterfeit check, that customer has spent most of the money." And the victim is left with the responsibility of paying the bank back.

That is, if the bank doesn't detect the fraud first. Trained tellers and machines help spot scams. Cashier checks can be a bit more difficult. E-mail scams are prevalent too. All scams are difficult to trace back to the crook. "I tried to track back as far as I could the phone number and two weeks later I called the number again and it's been disconnected. These people just get one phone number after another," said Lollar. Local police, FBI, and Secret Service investigate crimes, but they say the best defense against scams is if the public would follow one simple rule. Lollar advised, "The thing to remember is, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."